Saturday, April 7, 2018

Scars: 2nd Sunday Easter 2018

The week I moved into Illinois State University as a nervous and excited seventeen-year-old freshman, our RA (kind of an upper-classman floor leader) started an icebreaker for the guys living on the seventh floor of Atkin Hall. He called it “scar wars.” We went around the circle and when it was your turn you had to show a scar and tell its story. He was a mountain bike racer so he won - no wonder he liked the game. Some of us had a bunch of big scars with big stories, some had none really worth mentioning. I suppose I was in between somewhere.

The guys with big scars - would you expect that they felt embarrassed and ashamed? Like “wow, I really should’ve been more careful so I wouldn’t have these unsightly blemishes on my skin.” On the other hand, were the scar-less young men boasting of their unblemished exterior, and proud to have successfully avoided those injuries? 

Of course not! Exactly the opposite. Those with the biggest scars were most eager to show them. Those who had no scars worth mentioning spoke with noticeable embarrassment.

I remember a sermon by Bishop Bruskewitz in Lincoln, Nebraska. He talked about the moment we stand at the gates of heaven, the moment we stand before the Lord with all our lives and all we are laid bare. Just as Thomas asked to see the scars of Jesus, the Bishop said, what if Jesus asked to see ours? Imagine Jesus telling you, “show me your scars.” And if you have none to show, no scars at the end of your life, can’t you then imagine Jesus asking you, “wasn’t there anything worth fighting for?”

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter 2018

I love how almost anticlimactic it is. “Don’t be amazed. You’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth? He’s not here. He’s been raised. See? Where they laid Him? He went on ahead to Galilee, you’ll see him there, like He told you.”

It is not, if I may insist on precision, a Resurrection story. There are no Resurrection stories in the Bible. There are only stories like this one of Mark’s, of people who showed up just a little late to catch it. This is how the story is told in all four Gospels: Jesus was crucified, He died, they buried Him, and then they went back and He wasn’t there. He’d Risen. And then they started seeing Him around.